A new OCHA-facilitated project to protect the most vulnerable people in Niger from drought
Niger is one of the countries most at risk from drought. It causes low agricultural productivity, low yields, crop damage and low livestock productivity – all of which exacerbate food insecurity and other humanitarian needs. A new pilot project, facilitated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will use forecasts of severe drought in the country to trigger collective anticipatory humanitarian actions that help those most at risk from these impacts.
As with similar anticipatory action initiatives, the pilot has several pre-agreed elements in place.
- The maproom tool will be used to obtain forecasts and monitor triggers for decision-making. This tool was developed in partnership with WFP, IRI, AGRHYMET and the Niger government.
- Anticipatory actions to reduce the severity of drought impacts will begin when a trigger is reached, ahead of the drought. These will focus on: food security; health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); education; and protection, including gender-based violence.
- The pilot has up to 15 million US dollars available for two years from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Funds will automatically be made available once a trigger threshold is reached and agency proposals are submitted to the CERF secretariat.
The pilot includes a strong learning element and will explore, among other subjects, how the timing of humanitarian interventions and the activities identified will affect the most vulnerable communities.
Every year, Niger experiences one annual period of rain (June to October) and one period of dryness (November to April), which are associated with seasonal spikes in humanitarian needs. For example, the rainy season coincides with the lean season, as food stocks from the previous harvest are nearly depleted.
To address how a severe drought will change the intensity and timing of annual periods of humanitarian need, the pilot project has two trigger ‘windows’, each with a package of anticipatory interventions.
- Activities in Window 1 focus on safeguarding harvests. These are triggered if the forecasts for the July, August and September period (issued in January, February or March) reach a threshold of 35 per cent at the national level.
- Activities in Window 2 focus on mitigating the direct impacts of drought. These are triggered if the forecasts for the July, August and September period (issued in April, May or June) reach a threshold of 35 per cent at the national level.
If a trigger is reached, the pilot is considered automatically activated for the corresponding activity package and window.